March 26, 2019 / 8:55 PM / a month ago

Patriots owner Kraft wants jury trial in Florida prostitution case

FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft attends a conference at the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes, France, June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

(Reuters) - Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday filed court papers requesting a jury trial on solicitation of prostitution charges stemming from a sting operation at a Florida massage parlor.

The documents also formally waive Kraft’s right to an arraignment hearing and reiterate the not guilty plea he entered last month.

Kraft, 77, was charged in February with soliciting prostitution after police said he was captured on hidden camera footage engaging in sex acts with a worker at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

The billionaire businessman apologized for his actions in a written statement issued earlier this week.

“Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years,” Kraft said in the statement.

Kraft’s wife, Myra, died of ovarian cancer in 2011 at age 68, shortly after their 48th wedding anniversary.

The NFL franchise owner was among some two dozen men charged as part of a law enforcement operation to stop human trafficking in South Florida.

Kraft and the other men accused in the case were offered the opportunity to have their charges dropped if they performed 100 hours of community service, took a class on the dangers of prostitution, were tested for sexually transmitted diseases and paid a fine.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Tom Brown

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